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Reconciling “agile” and “traditional”

This is a question that I get quite often: how do you reconcile the new agile processes like Scrum or Kanban or new approaches to product development (like Lean Startup) both based on empiricism with old, traditional, prediction based project management methods? It seems hard because the traditional approach is all about planning & execution

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The Dark Side

If you take any book on leadership and management or go to a conference you will hear a lot about team engagement, servant leadership, inspiring people with a vision, fostering their internal motivation as craftsmen and so on. This is what I’m advocating here as well. All of that – and more – is part

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Requirements for software – a dysfunction?

Traditionally software development is driven by requirements – descriptions of functions the product should perform once done. In the past those requirements were handed down to the development teams as a bulky specification document. Now, with agile methods being widely used they are usually put on a backlog. This backlog is managed by someone –

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Why corporations don’t innovate

Over and over again I see this question raised and discussed. Different reasons are proposed, but I think the main one is the corporate culture. Innovation is, by definition, trying a new way of doing things that has not yet been tried before. This is inherently risky as failure is the most likely outcome. As

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Culture is everything, processes are nothing

A change is underway in management, especially in high-tech companies. This – as I call it – “New Wave of Management” started by the Agile and Lean movements now includes other ideas like “Management 3.0” or “Radical Management” (both also excellent books). It is visible also outside software development with companies changing their structure to

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Managers’ common errors: trying to be everything

I have recently met with a team whose manager was trying to be their Product Owner, their Scrum Master (the SM originally assigned to their group kind of slipped out unnoticed a couple of months earlier), their technical leader – and at the same time think of their department future, lobby for the product they

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Want innovation? Embrace failure!

A theme that I see repeatedly in companies I work with is that they boast how innovative they are. Usually that means their managers demand from their staff to be innovative. At the same time, however, they remind everyone that deadlines have to be met and all has to delivered – and it has to

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Want change? Have courage!

The most common complaint I hear from developers is that their managers push unrealistic deadlines on them. The managers come and say something must by done by this date – and won’t take “no” for an answer. The developers then work nights to deliver on a promise they didn’t make – usually only to get

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Improvement is boring

The empiricism underpinning all agile methods means that people live in a constant inspect & adapt loop. It is primarily about the product being worked on – but it also applies to teams themselves. The idea is that with agile not only the product evolves and gets better, but also the teams – and thus

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In defense of retrospectives

Bob Marshall wrote on his popular blog, that retrospectives make no sense if they are not about a hypothesis – or in other words, if they are not about analyzing why things didn’t go as we envisioned. This was followed with others voicing their agreement (example). While I agree with Bob on many things this

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